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Yes, Top Ten Villains/Baddies/Nasties starts tomorrow.  I promise!

In the meantime, Bethany was kind enough to let me repost a wonderful list she put on her livejournal of the ten episodes a new fan should see to get familiar with the show.  I admire her ability to pick just ten!  As usual with guest posters, do not repost any of this.  Either link to this site or to Bethany's livejournal at sometimeredhead.livejournal.com/

Thanks again Bethany for letting me share this, and enjoy everyone!  Do you agree with the choices? 


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As the number of Supernatural watchers rose with season 4 there is the chance that the same thing might happen for season 5. This got me thinking, there have been 82 episodes so far but what are the episodes that a Supernatural virgin would need to see to get up to speed.

Before I started this list I decided to give myself some rules Jesterz.net style. The episodes must give the viewer some information on the plot, characters, the SPN world or introduces a concept that is pivoital to the series. I am limiting myself 10 episodes as it's an easy number and works out at around 7 hours of TV. You could argue that every episode contains some if not all of these elements but I need to draw the line somewhere. I am not including the pilot in this episode as I believe that this is a given as it introduces the show, the concepts, and the characters and is designed to do so and as such is essential viewing for any series. I'm listing the episodes in the order they aired not by "importance" as I am writing this list in the order in which they should be viewed. So I will list the episode and why I have included it in my list.

This was a hard list to compile, especially when I realised that there were 82 episodes to choose from. I spent many work hours thinking this over but I still don't think that this is my definate list rather the list that made sense to me while I was sitting in my sitting room eating my roasted salmon and watching Jack Dee Live at the Apollo. If you have other suggestions please let me know, all idea's welcome.

So rules in place for this entirely subjective list lets get going:

1 - Home

This episode had certain elements that were important to the development of the characters and the story. Although we now know that the night of the fire isn't the first time that the YED crossed the path of the Winchesters but it is the moment that changes the lives of John, Dean and Sam and so their investigation into the events of that night and the affect on John and subsequenty Sam and Dean is so important. It introduces Sam's visions, the YED and gives the boys a further insight into John. We had to wait another 54 episodes to understand the significance off the "I'm sorry" that Mary gives Sam but it is crucial to the fate of her boys. I thought it was an important moment at the time, Sam meeting his mother for the first time in his conscious memory. I thought that she was saying she was sorry about Jessica or leaving them which was powerful enough, but after 'In the Beginning' it was so much more powerful. This is the point in the series where things go deeper, the series myth arc begins to develop, you begin the learn about the Winchesters and their relationship with YED; the characters develop, Sam has visions but doesn’t want to tell his brother because he fears what Dean will think and although we found out in ‘Bloody Mary’ that Sam had visions the full extent of what that means begins to unfurl here; Dean shows the cracks in his facade and the insecurities show through, his belief that his father could do a better job, his fears for Sam all take root in this episode.


2 - Devil's Trap

This episode contains many vital elements not least the introduction of everyone’s favourite uncle Bobby! This episode has the introduction of the Devil’s trap an element often used as a vital or pivotal plot point. The idea that the colt can kill but only if you kill the person being possessed as well. The exorcism of the demon and seeing Meg after the demon has gone, is something that this show has never avoided and in this moment you see the boys deal directly with the consequences of their actions and how despite their best intentions, trying to protect their family and help people, bad things can still happen. And of course it’s the first big meeting of the Winchesters and the YED and the fallout from this confrontation which has such serious connotations for Sam and Dean. But for me the important moments arewhen Dean realises man in front of him isn’t his father because of the praise he gives, it’s only a moment but it’s such a glimpse into Dean and the relationship between the Winchester men. The other moment is for Sam, finding himself in the middle between his brother and father chooses to side with his brother and protect his brother and never thinks twice about it, as is shown by a little glance in the rear view mirror as he looks at the battered figure of his brother across the backseat. This isn’t the first time Sam has gone to extremes to protect his brother but here I think you see the almost maniacal elements of John Winchester beginning to surface in defence of the brother he adores, elements that surface to lead him astray when faced with the death of Dean.

And of course as a purely gratuitous side note – the best cliff hanger ever and Sam and Dean as firemen!


3 - In My Time of Dying

This one is picked for the obvious reasons, the deal, the reaper, Dean’s very near death experience, the brotherly bond that survives even through the veil of death and the death of John.

Also another set of gratuitous moments – the slumber party Ouija board and who knew hospital gear could look so good?


4 - All Hell Breaks Loose part 2

This was a hard choice between part one and part two because part one has the reveal about the blood in the mouth that gave Sam his powers and that Mary recognised the demon and the whole demon army plan. In the end I decided that the first part was less important than the second part because the blood in the mouth/Mary’s recognition although both very important later are both revealed and developed in ‘In the beginning’ and in such a short list I felt I didn’t need to repeat elements. And the whole demon army plan is a bit of a red herring as it wasn’t really to raise an army and to find the child to lead them all but rather to release Lilith and break the final seal. The other significant part is Dean selling his soul – carrying on the grand old Winchester tradition of self sacrifice - which not only has such a devastating effect on Sam when Sam can’t save him but also that he unwittingly provides the demons with the righteous man they have been waiting for. I may be being controversial but I believe that Alistair lied to Dean about John just to torture him, although he probably doesn’t lie about John not breaking as we see he has the strength to pull himself out of the pit to help his sons but I don’t think you’d class John as a righteous man, a good man, but not a righteous man.


5 - No Rest for The Wicked

I feel the reasons for including this episode is obvious, Bobby is awesome, Lilith can’t hurt Sam, Ruby hints that Sam has the power to stop Lilith and Sam out of desperation is willing to listen to her, Dean dies and goes to hell.

 

Comments  

Tigershire
# Tigershire 2009-06-17 01:03
Fantastic list Bethany! Thanks for posting this here for us Alice.

I think you did a great job Bethany. I'll have to sit and let it stew before I could even think of offering alternatives, IF I could think of any. Nice job.
Suze
# Suze 2009-06-17 04:52
Hats off indeed ...

One of the great things about this show ( apart from the sex and the angst and the mayhem and the sarky one-liners and the scary bits and the sex and the silly bits and the sex and the faint possibility of undead reptiles at some point in the future ) is the slow-burn story line which I'm only just coming to appreciate now I can look back over the seasons and see it developing.

Good choices, as I've said somewhere else I'm in awe of people who can come up with any kind of list that they don't immediately change their minds about ... Can you bottle it? :lol:
Dany
# Dany 2009-06-17 07:03
Great choices Bethany! The way you explain the choice of this 10 ep, it makes perfect sence that this one's are the need to see ep (and of course any new fan will be as addicted as us and will go see all the eps!)

Thaks for posting this for us Alice :-)
Antoinette
# Antoinette 2009-06-17 12:35
With respect to Bethany, "Heaven and Hell" is a truly terrible episode, and I wouldn't show it to anyone I wanted to become a fan of the show. I think "On the Head of a Pin" is pretty weak on executing its intent too.

I don't have enough distance from season four yet to know which episodes I'd consider vital, but I'd take those two off the list to make room for the pilot and something really great from season two or three, like "What Is.." or "A Very Supernatural Christmas." New fans should get to see a few fun, quality episodes as well as the mytharc-heavy season four episodes.
elle2
# elle2 2009-06-17 15:13
Hats of Bethany!

That ain't easy to do. I've been toying with a couple of list and frankly can't boil it down to ten (well, I could if I really, really, really tried) but I haven't.

I love your 'subjective' rules (hee, hee) and your style of writing that reflects your character..grea t job. Thanks for bravely tackling the impossible and giving yourself an impossible task and then pulling it off.
Bethany
# Bethany 2009-06-18 02:02
I don't think heaven and hell was that good an episode either, however my point was it reveals a lot of plot and that someone just jumping in might need to catch up with. With on the head of a pin not only is it a brilliant episode (a personal favourite so yes i'm biased) but it reveals so much about the boys characters their mental states history, you get such a feel for where they are that I included it. Plus Cas is awesome in this episode - yes I'm very biased!

Thanks for all the comments, it's interesting to see what other people think... and thanks to Alice for publishing my random thoughts that I had at work during a very long and boring conference call.